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Saturday, December 15, 2012
Coach's Report: Woody favors pushing ball

By Jared Zwerling

Against the Lakers on Thursday night, the Knicks had their best first quarter of the season, scoring 41 points on 73.9 percent shooting. A big reason was because they defended well and pushed the pace, which Mike Woodson supports.

"It comes down to getting stops," he said before the Cavaliers game. "We've been pushing that as we go along. We've got to get stops and everybody's got to help rebound, and if we do that why not push the basketball? Get it up the floor and we can explore early in the shot clock to see what we can come up with. It just happened to work in our favor in the first quarter the other night. We were as good offensively as we've been all year in that first quarter."

Chris Copeland, who's getting his first career NBA start tonight, said his guys will look to push once again against the Cavaliers.

"Yeah, definitely, a fast-paced game for sure," he said. "(The Cavaliers) have a pretty well-balanced team. It's going to be an exciting game for sure."

AMAR'E UPDATE: While Stoudemire was putting up some shots pregame, Chris Smith, J.R. Smith's younger brother, told ESPNNewYork.com that STAT is "looking good." Smith said that when the power forward returns, "All he needs to do is rebound." The Knicks rank third-worst in the league in boards per game (39.4).

Woodson said he wasn't sure if Stoudemire will return during the Knicks' four game homestand next week against the Rockets, Nets, Bulls and Timberwolves.

"Don't know," he's said. "He's still day-to-day doing his thing."

In other injury news, Woodson said Marcus Camby, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis, is starting to run now.

"That's a good sign," he said. "How close is he being back out on the floor? I don't know at this particular time."

Regarding Iman Shumpert, Smith said, "He's getting close, too."

As for Smith himself, he said he'll be returning to the court in February and will work out with the Knicks for the rest of the season to prepare for the summer league.

RAINING 3s: The Knicks have made a league-best 264 3-pointers at 41.2 percent accuracy. Copeland credited the ball movement.

"Guys are sharing the ball, and when you move the ball you get better looks at the basket," he told ESPNNewYork.com. "I think guys are being unselfish."

RAY MAYDAY?: Woodson said he doesn't take any issue with Raymond Felton's high shooting volume.

"No, not really because he's missing good shots," he said. "I'm not going to take that away from him."

PRIGIONI'S PROGESSION: More than a month into the season, Woodson said the Knicks' only international player Pablo Prigioni, who's an NBA rookie, has adjusted well to NBA life.

"He's doing fine. He's been solid I think," he said. "The minutes that he's got has been quality minutes for us. He's doing a lot of positive things on the floor, so I think he's adjusted well. He's not playing big minutes, but his minutes have been very, very productive for us."

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: Smith caught up with Cleveland's Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels before the game. They all played high school ball together at St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.). Smith and Samuels were also college teammates at Louisville.

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